Dear Toastmasters and Honored Guests,

Here is the summary of the 125th meeting of our Istanbul Toastmasters Club which was held on Wednesday August 15th, 2012 at the Kervansaray Hotel in Taksim. This was also our last meeting for this summer and maybe this was one of the reasons that our Toastmaster of the Evening Tolga Yanaşık selected Shakespeare’s play “ A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as the theme of the evening.

Nazlı opened the meeting as Sgt-at-Arms and our President Alper Rozanes provided a brief opening statement in which he increased the excitement already present in the room by informing us that our club will now make video recordings of all meetings and upload these to our Istanbul Toastmasters website from where members can access them via a password.

Also, for those speakers that agree, some recordings can be opened to the public. Tolga then build up the excitement even more by opening the meeting with the intriguing question of: “Is life nothing more than a dream?”. Tolga went on to explain that the plot of a Shakespeare’s famous play revolves around the mysterious love between immortal gods and humans exploring the concepts of time, love, identity and sexuality all in one dramatic masterpiece. Tolga used this to inspire the audience about the further flow of the evening’s meeting and somehow managed to tie in an overview of the Toastmaster’s meeting format and an introduction of the role holders as well.

After stating that: “The path to wisom lies in the scarcity of use of words”, Tolga went on to introduce the evaluators thus motivating them to use their words wisely to provide positive and constructive feedback to our prepared speakers.
Once the evaluators Alper Rozanes, Nazlı Toganaş, and David Gökçedağ briefed the audience what the objectives of each of the speakers was going to be and how they would be evaluated against these Tolga called the first speaker of the evening, Tuba Erayman.

Tuba presented her second speach project which she named: “Creative versus Reactive”. She began be asking the audience to create a visual picture of and international company with an employee called Adam. Adam was asked to prepare a report by his overbearing boss and present the results during a meeting. Tuba helped us imagine how Adam presented his report by holding an imaginary report in her right hand and presenting this in the same way. The overbearing boss did not approve much of the report and showed his disapproval by pushing it a way. Luckily Adam held the report in this outstretched right hand so he was able to easily accomodate the boss’s rejection and not take the rejection personally. Then the other protagonist of the story Adem entered the pricture. Adem unlike Adam chose to present the report centered in front of his heart. When his boss rejected it by pushing it a way Adem could not easily accomodate the rejection and took it as a personal rejection. Thus Tuba concluded how you present your work and yourself can have a big impact on whether you can be creative or a forced to be reactive when having to deal with negative feedback. Cleverly choosing creative over reactive scenarios allows you to make the impossible possible a concept also hidden in the word impossible iteself: “I’m Possible”.

I congratulate Tuba on her successful speach and am looking forward to hear her 3rd speach very soon! The next speaker Tolga called was Bengü Durgun who also presented her second speach project which she called: “True Irony of El Cartel”.
Bengü built her speach around a movie she had recently seen called El Cartel. Bengü went on to explain that “Cartel” can have several meanings one of them being an association of large corporations formed in order to control a particular industry the other being a drug dealership, the movie focused on the later. In the movie a journalist was tasked with reporting on a drug cartel. Ironically, Bengü then went on to share with us some sound business principles which she had found interwoven into the plot of the movie. These 13 business principles gained from the drug trafficking business were as follows: (13) Success is Never Guarantteed, (12) Success comes by doing many things right over time, (11) Never Ignore the Signs, (10) Opportunity is a Liability, (9) Success Begins by Hiring Quality People, (8) The most valuable asset is Thought, (7) Don’t Ignore Things, (6) Follow Passion, (5) Stop when you see things are not working out, (4) There is no once in a life opportunity, (3) Execute your Strategy, (2) Always have an exit strategy, (1) You can’t do anything unless you try. The Journalist failed to have a good exit strategy and was thus promptly executed by the drug lord however his friend lived to tell the story and succeed as a journalist and share with us these unusual business strategies which are sure to lead you to success should you consider drug trafficking as a line of business.

Congratulations to Bengü for presenting a very unusual speach, I wonder what the content of your third speach is going to be!

The final speaker of the eveing was Aydın Bırık who made an energetic presentation for his 3rd speach project which he called “The Purpose”. Aydın began his speach by talking about the Olympics, particularily the 1968 Summer Olympics held in Mexico. During these games Dick Fosbury took and interesting approach in his discipline of high jumping by approaching the bar and then jumping over it backwards. In the hundreds of years that the discipline of high jumping had been held in competition Mr. Fosbury was the first athlete ever to attemp the jump backwards. Dick Fosbury was able to come up with this revolutionary solution to the jump because he had made it his purpose to do so and Aydın went on to explain why he thought it was important to have a purpose in live. He powerfully stated that a purpose gives you a meaning to life, directs where we should go and expend our energies and motivate us in bad times. To find a purpose, Ayın said, all you have to do are the following: (1) Focus more on enjoying life, (2) Identify your strengths, (3) Find a passion, (4) Identify a cause, (5) Find an interconnection between your passion, strengths and passion, (6) Write a Mission Statement, (7) Act, (8) Refine your Mission Statement as you act it out. This is exactly what Dick Fosbury did and not only did it lead him to being the most successful athlete in the world in his discipline winning the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics but he actually revolutionized the discipline itself with the invention of the backwards “Fosbury Flop”. Aydın concluded his speech by stating that he thinks every life has a purpose and that he is confident that each of us will find their purpose, in fact, he is so confident about this that he has made it his purpose to help people make little changes to find their unique purposes in life.

Congratulations Aydın on your brilliant execution of your 3rd speach, I look forward to hearing many more! Tolga concluded the first session of our meeting by introducing our seven guests, each of them shared some interesting facts about themselves with us and I am looking forward to seeing them at future Toastmasters meetings. After the break

Tolga opened the final session of Table Topics and Evaluations for which Önder Çoban had prepare the following challenging questions:
(1) How far would you go for someone you are deeply in love with even though you know he loves someone else. – Petek

(2) If you had a chance to be a novel or film character who would it be? – Selen

(3) If you had a love portion just like the one used in Midsummer Night’s Dream but this portion was for countries instead which 2 countries would you administer it on?

(4) One of your friends dies leaving you an unpublished novel which you are sure is brilliant, what would you do? – Burak

(5) If you can travel in Time, who would you like to meet? – Tuna

(6) Which novel or movie depicts you best? – Arzu

The next section of the meeting was focused on evaluations of each of the 3 speakers in which the Speach Evaluators Alper, Nazlı, and David offered their suggestions to allow each of the 3 speakers to improve on their own specific speaking style and manner. Aydın Bırık was proclaimed best speaker, Petek the best Table Topics Speaker and Alper won the category for best evaluator of the evening.

I am looking forward to seeing our guests and all of our members during our next Meeting and wish everybody happy holidays, may all your dreams come true!

Warm Regards,

David Gökçedağ